As has already been noted here, today marks the beginning of the confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Despite objections from Democrats over everything from the number of documents released to the unseemly nature of considering any of Trump’s nominees, most observers seem to feel that the regular order will be followed and Kavanaugh will get an up or down vote in the Senate. That’s led Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar to become sentimental, dreaming of the days when a minority of members could shut the process down using the filibuster. Wouldn’t it just be lovely if we could forget all the unpleasantness that’s taken place ever since Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option and bring back that vital tool of democracy? (Washington Times)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sunday she regrets Senate Democrats eliminating the filibuster for most judicial nominees in 2013, saying she would support bringing it back if Democrats retake the Senate in November.
“I would prefer to bring it back,” the Minnesota Democrat said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But we are where we are and now I don’t think anyone’s going to want to hamstring themselves.”
Her comments came with Republicans moving to approve the nomination of U.S. District Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court following the July 31 retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Not that anyone expects it to happen, but Klobuchar is really playing with figurative dynamite here. The Democratic desire for the filibuster now (and for at least the next two years) is obvious. Assuming Trump remains in office for a full first term, it’s still possible that another opening on the bench could take place. (Several of those justices are well past the age where nobody could fairly criticize them for retiring.) I’m not just talking about the liberal justices either. Even replacing an elderly conservative judge with a younger person would be seen as disastrous for the Democrats.
And just imagine if Trump won a second term. (I’m still not ruling that out.) He could wind up replacing half of the court or more. The Democrats having the filibuster back could at least blunt what they see as the potential damage to progressive causes.
As a hypothetical, let’s just say the Democrats take back the Senate majority next year and Chuck Schumer is in charge. If they reinstate the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, they can either shut down Trump or force him to look at more moderate options. But then, what happens if they win the Presidency in 2020? For the next four years, they’ve handed the GOP the ability to do the same back to them. Chuck Schumer would be in the position of having to insist that the filibuster is a vital tool required to save democracy, and then turn around in as little as 24 months and declare it an abomination that thwarts the will of the people.
Could he really act in such a blatantly hypocritical fashion? If you’re thinking he wouldn’t you don’t know Chuck Schumer very well. But it would still make a complete mockery of the Senate and the entire nomination process, exposing it as simply a hyperpartisan exercise in political maneuvering. Part of me wants to think that neither party could sink that low, but this isn’t my first trip to the rodeo. Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility these days.